Planning commission green lights new hi-rise apartments

James at River Bend will be built at E. Main and Pear

After lengthy debate over whether the height of the building would block views of the James River from Libby and general appropriateness of the height the planning commission voted 6-2 in favor of the necessary special permit request.

Lynn McAteer and Jeffrey Sadler were the dissenting votes. They felt the height of the building is “excessive”and felt the plan was inconsistent with downtown development plans.

Richmond has more details.

After nearly two hours of consideration and public discussion, Richmond’s Planning Commission gave its approval Monday to a proposed 13-story Shockoe Bottom condo building at Main and Pear streets. The project is dubbed the James at River Bend.

Its developer, David White of Shockoe Bottom real estate firm Historic Housing, next must earn Richmond City Council’s final approval of a special use permit application at next week’s meeting.

The proposed condo tower would sit at the eastern end of CaryMain Street. Part of the building will rise 16 stories from its lowest point on a down-sloping plot and include three floors of parking. The 13 stories of condos will begin on street level on Main Street. White said the units will begin at about 1,100 square feet with low-end prices of about $300,000 and $350,000.

Image: Google Maps/Richmond

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Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Don O'Keefe on said:

    I am happy to hear it’s moving forward, but I know there were some in Richmond who were opposed. Now that it is a reality, I hope that people will be open to its effects on the view and neighborhood. I think there is a big positive side to this building. I guess people from all sides of the issue can hope that this positive side will become more clear as time goes on.

  2. Don O'Keefe on said:

    Oh, darn. While my sentiment stands, I now realize that this still has to go to the council. This recommendation is still good news, from my perspective, but I fear council members are less likely than planners to support this. I suppose I was just hearing what I wanted to hear. I hope it works out.

  3. Little Big Dan on said:

    People were opposed because what you are doing is taking the skyline that used to be for everyone, packaging it, and selling it to your rich customers for their exclusive use. The view is now eliminated for some people, and at least diminished for all others. The rules that supposedly keep everyone on a level playing field were tossed out so that one guy and his company can make more money than they otherwise would have. I guess that’s America now.

    This is now routine in Richmond. Laws are routinely ignored for rich developers, while small businesses and entrepreneurs who care about their integrity are constricted by asinine regulations. In a closed door, no-bid selection process, David White’s company was selected to build the apartments for the mayor’s Shockoe Bottom Economic Revitalization plan. That’s not enough?

  4. Don’t love it but don’t hate it either (btw: this is on Pear St. – not Perry St.). As to the objection I’ve heard repeatedly that this is taking away the “skyline that used to be for everyone” – who’s that “everyone”, I wonder? It’s made to sound as if everyone’s view of the James is being blocked – and that’s completely untrue. Neither will this block the view of those very few residents around Libby Park, nor will it greatly impair the view from Libby Hill as such. So if you dislike it – fine. But please don’t couch your arguments as if you’re a champion of the people.

  5. Little Bug Dan on said:

    It will be by far the dominant feature from any direction. What do you mean it won’t block views of the James? What’s your argument? If I can still see the James out of the corner of my eye, then the view is not blocked? Is that really what you are saying?

    What do you think now?

  6. Beth on said:

    I thought our Planning commission was supposed to be stewards of our community, not sell-outs.

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